OpenNotes Hits New High, with 40 Million Patients Able to Access their Notes

July 8, 2019
The OpenNotes organization has announced that 40 million U.S. patients now have access to their physicians’ notes, via the OpenNotes program

In an announcement on its website, the OpenNotes organization last week trumpeted the milestone of 40 million Americans now having access to their physicians’ notes.  On July 2, the organization said, “OpenNotes announced today that more than 40 million patients using secure online patient portals can now access the notes written by their clinicians at 200 health systems across the U.S. and Canada. As the OpenNotes movement continues to support the availability of fully transparent medical records, new studies show positive effects on diverse aspects of care, including communication, engagement, the use of medications, safety, and overall quality,” the announcement stated.

The online announcement went on to quote Catherine DesRoches, DrPH, Executive Director of OpenNotes, and researcher in the Division of General Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Boston, and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, in saying that “Our most recent research, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, shows that patients, particularly those from underserved populations, feel more engaged in their care and gain greater benefit from reading the notes their clinicians write. These are important and exciting findings because patients who read their notes report they are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and medications, identify documentation errors, and follow through on tests and referrals,” Dr. DesRoches added.

The announcement continued, “Helping OpenNotes reach the 200 health system mark, organizations recently offering patients access to their clinicians’ notes include: Yuma Regional Medical Center in Arizona, Asante in Oregon, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Premier Medical Associates in Pennsylvania and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Ontario, Canada.”

The announcement also quoted Lee David Milligan, M.D., senior vice president and chief information officer/chief medical information officer at Asante Health, a three-community hospital based system based in Ashland, Oregon. “OpenNotes represents a significant paradigm shift for our system and for our providers,” Dr. Milligan said. “We now openly share clinical notes - including behavioral health notes - with patients in near real-time. Patients have expressed gratitude for being able to see their clinical assessment and plans of care. They have communicated that they appreciate being informed on issues central to their well-being.”

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